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Man killed in 2016 was shot outside barbershop he had taken 4-year-old son to, prosecutor says

William Shakespeare waited for proceedings to resume at Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston on Wednesday.
William Shakespeare waited for proceedings to resume at Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston on Wednesday.(Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)

A Dedham man shot a father five times outside a popular Mattapan barbershop in June 2016, killing the 31-year-old, whose 4-year-old son had just gotten a haircut, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

“Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,” said Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Catherine Ham during opening statements in the trial of William Shakespeare, 30, mimicking the sound of gunfire and pounding her fist in her palm.

Shakespeare faces first-degree murder and weapons charges in the slaying of Marcus Hall, who was killed at about 12:20 p.m. on June 14, 2016, outside Hair It Is Barbershop on Blue Hill Avenue.

With relatives of Hall and Shakespeare sharing the first row of the public gallery, Ham told jurors that Hall brought his son, Marcus II, to the shop for a trim, as he had done many times before.

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Shakespeare was inside when they arrived, and he and Hall had a “face to face” confrontation captured on video surveillance, Ham said. She said the encounter was “not a friendly bumping of the fist,” though she didn’t say what they argued about.

James Greenberg, a lawyer for Shakespeare, pushed back on Ham’s characterization of that moment when he addressed the jury.

“You decide whether this is an argument, or whether they’re conversing,” Greenberg said.

Ham insisted there was hostility, telling jurors Hall and Shakespeare later argued loudly outside the shop, reentered separately, and were captured a second time on video standing “shoulder to shoulder” by the back door before they both exited and the shots rang out.

She conceded the video footage didn’t capture the shooting but said it did appear to show Hall lunging toward Shakespeare before trying to get back into the shop. Hall was pulled outside, Ham said, and surveillance footage captured a “glimmer of a shirt” that was “consistent with” the red shirt Shakespeare wore that day.

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After the shooting, Ham said, the camera captured the feet of two eyewitnesses slowly walking away from the murder scene. One witness, she said, was later identified as Mark Edwards, a man with dreadlocks who was in the barbershop about five minutes before the shooting and who wore sunglasses, chains, and a reddish-black shirt.

Edwards left the scene but presented himself to police a couple days later and testified before a grand jury, Ham said. She informed jurors that Edwards, 22, was murdered about a year after Hall’s killing. No one has been charged in Edwards’ death, which remains under investigation.

Ham did not say whether authorities believe the killing of Edwards is tied to the barbershop case, and a spokesman for District Attorney Daniel F. Conley declined to comment, citing the trial.

Greenberg, Shakespeare’s lawyer, said Edwards entered the shop through the back door shortly before the shooting and stared at Hall, who looked at Edwards before walking toward Shakespeare and following his client outside.

Greenberg said the video footage not only suggests that Hall tried to get back in the shop after seeing someone armed with a gun, but that Shakespeare tried to reenter for the same reason.

“You can draw an inference from what you see,” Greenberg said.

Ham, however, said the camera captured no interaction between Hall and Edwards before the shooting. She also warned jurors that they’ll initially have trouble making out what’s being depicted on video.

“It’s going to be easy for you to quickly think reasonable doubt” because the shooting wasn’t recorded, Ham said.

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However, she said, a thorough review of the evidence — including a crime scene view, an enhanced look at the video, ballistics, the parties’ clothing, and the trajectory of Hall’s wounds — will point to the guilt of Shakespeare, a regular at the barbershop who never returned after the shooting. He was arrested in the Bronx in January 2017.

Greenberg argued that the video and physical evidence, including DNA, will clear his client. He did not elaborate on how DNA evidence would help Shakespeare.

Testimony began Wednesday with first responders and the owner of the barbershop. The trial resumes Thursday.


Laura Crimaldi and John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.